Playing with toys is not only highly enjoyable for children, but it also serves an educational purpose too. If you choose age appropriate toys for your child, which are aimed at their particular stage of development, you can aid their learning even further. Here are some examples of the types of toys suitable for four year olds and the learning benefits they could have.
By the time they’re four years old, children should have a basic understanding of money and how and why it’s used. You can help develop this further by playing simple money games with them, using pretend money, and there are many toys available that help assist you to play shop. For example, wooden or plastic shop items and even stalls or shop windows come in the form of toys and you can use these as props for playing at buyers and shop keepers.
At this age, children tend to get interested in the idea of having a go at making meals and cooking and want to have a go at making things themselves. There are lots of children’s items available, marketed as toys, that can be used in this way, such as mini rolling pins, aprons, cookie making sets, cake sets and jelly moulds. They will enjoy having a go at mixing up their own cakes or cookies, either with their own bowl alongside that of an adults, or ‘on their own’ (with supervision, of course).
It’s definitely educational for children to learn about how food is made and they gain a sense of satisfaction when they’ve made something themselves. Stirring ingredients helps their physical development, whilst weighing out items helps with their maths skills.
Dolls And Soft Toys
Girls of this age will no doubt love having a doll to play with and care for and boys often enjoy looking after soft toys, like teddy bears. Pretend play with dolls and soft toys offers an important part of learning and development, helping children understand new concepts.
When they’re four years old, children will have a basic understanding of time and that they do certain things at certain times of the day. Yet their understanding and knowledge of clocks is still limited. There are lots of toy clocks available and these can be used by parents to help teach children the basics of telling the time.
Four year olds will love being out and about and exploring the world outside. As in the home, they’ll enjoy having a go at new tasks and developing new skills and gardening related toys can help facilitate this.
Mini gardening toys aimed at children are widely available, such as mini watering cans, mini trowels and seeds, so children can have a go at planting seeds and growing their own plants. As well as the physical task of having a go at planting, there’s the added experience of waiting and watching to see what eventually grows.
Art And Craft Toys
By this age, children are advancing with their art and craft skills and are now able to use equipment such as scissors. Although they may not have quite mastered cutting in a straight line, they can cut things out and will enjoy cutting paper and making shapes and other creations. Their coordination and finer motor skills will have developed too, so they’ll have a better grip of crayons and colouring in materials.
Look out for arts and crafts based toys that they’ll enjoy and will help develop these skills further, such as colouring books, crafting kits or scissors with wavy lines